Thursday, February 29, 2024

AR Rahman uses AI voice models of late singers Bamba Bakya and Shahul Hameed for ‘Lal Salaam’ song

AR Rahman, Bamba Bakya and Shahul Hameed

AR Rahman, Bamba Bakya and Shahul Hameed

Those aware of the growing discussions on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in cinema might have come across several AI-generated voice flips of film songs on the internet. Now, to much surprise, music composer AR Rahman has taken a significant step towards the legitimate use of AI in film music composition.

On Monday, Rahman revealed that with the help of AI, voice models of late singers Bamba Bakya and Shahul Hameed were used in composing the track ‘Thimiri Yezhuda’ from the upcoming film Lal Salaam.

The musician took to X (erstwhile Twitter) to reveal that the voices of the late singers were brought back to life with the help of Timeless Voices AI, a music platform that strives to preserve the voices of legendary artists using AI.

Rahman further revealed that the team took prior permission from the families of the singers and that the families were remunerated for using the voice algorithms. “Technology is not a threat and a nuisance if we use it right,” he added.

Though many netizens are seeing this as an instrumental step towards the use of technology in cinema, the news has received mixed responses from the audiences. One such X user, Aravind, wondered what this means to professional singers who aren’t getting enough opportunities. His response to Rahman also questioned if the consent of the families can be assumed as the consent of the late singers. “What if Bamba Bakya or Shahul Hameed just didn’t want this and rather wanted to just rest in peace?” read the post

Late singer Shahul Hameed was the voice behind many mesmerising Rahman songs in the ‘90s. ‘Usilampatti Penkutti’ from Gentleman, ‘Rasaathi En Usuru’ from Thiruda Thiruda, ‘Senthamizh Naatu Thamizhachiye’ from Vandicholai Chinraasu, ‘Urvasi Urvasi’ from Kadhalan, and ‘Vaarayo Thozhi’ from Jeans are some of his most notable songs. The singer passed away in 1997 in a car crash near Chennai.

Late Singer Bamba Bakya shot to fame for his soul-stirring singing in tracks like ‘Kedakkari’ from Raavanan, ‘Ponni Nadhi’ from Ponniyin Selvan, ‘Pullinangal’ from 2.0, ‘Kaalame’ from Bigil and the indie track ‘Raati’ among others. The singer passed away in 2022 after suffering a cardiac arrest.

With lyrics penned by Snehan, ‘Thimiri Yezhuda’ is an upbeat folk number that has female vocals from singers Deepthi Suresh and Akshaya Shivkumar.

ALSO READ: Rajinikanth on ‘Lal Salaam’ controversy: Aishwarya never said ‘Sanghi’ is a bad word

Directed by Aishwarya Rajinikanth, Lal Salaam is a political drama starring Vikranth and Vishnu Vishal in the lead. The film features superstar Rajinikanth in an extended cameo, while legendary Indian cricketer Kapil Dev will be seen in a special appearance.

Senthil, Jeevitha, Thambi Ramaiah, Ananthika Sanilkumar, Vivek Prasanna, and Thangadurai round out the fast. The film has editing by Pravin Baaskar and cinematography by Vishnu Rangasamy. Bankrolled by Lyca Productions, Lal Salaam releases in theatres on February 9.

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